Blow Gun

http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/tintin_poison_arrow_354.jpg
A deleted scene from the original Tintin The Broken Ear album.

A tube used to shoot darts at targets by blowing into it, often used by hunter-gatherer tribes. Expect poison and tranquillizer darts.

Its near-silence makes it an ideal exotic weapon for a hunter or sneaky assassin who doesn't want to give away their position, while the pipe's simplicity makes it easy to conceal or disguise as something else. It can even be used as a snorkel so the assassin can hide underwater.

Two potential gags are for the user to accidentally inhale the dart or for the target to grab the end of the gun and blow the dart back.


Examples:

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     Anime and Manga  

  • In Berserk, the smallest one the Bakiraka assassins sent into the sewers to kill Griffith uses a blow gun as his main weapon. He peeks out of his hiding place and shoots a poisoned dart at Griffith, but Charlotte leaps in the way, which creates a problem for the assassins who are trying to bring her back alive.
  • Used by a guy in Hunter Hunter, who uses it to shoot a paralyzing dart at Gon.
  • Ranma uses one to shoot down the Principal's hot air balloon in the manga

     Comic Books  

  • A group of onetime villains in Spider-Man comic (four criminals who learned to copy Vulture's wings) used those. The curare was fatal for humans — Spider Man was too tough to die, but would get stiffer with every dart and actually got close to succumbing. The next issue, he had to save their lives when the real Vulture came to town.
  • In one Batman possible future during the Armageddon 2001 series, The Joker frames Batman for the Penguin's murder by having a henchman shoot a poison dart this way, thus making it appear as if Batman knocked Penguin off a side railing with his Batarang and made the villain fall to his death.
  • Used by Papa Smurf in The Smurfs comic book story "The Black Smurfs" (and its English version "The Purple Smurfs") to shoot an antidote pellet into an infected Smurfs' mouth.
  • Tintin: Used by the Arumbaya Indians in The Broken Ear and Tintin and the Picaros, as well as by the villains in The Cigars Of The Pharao and The Blue Lotus.
  • White Sand: The Kerztians use a more advanced version called zinkallin, in which the darts are shot from multiple tubes by compressed air.

    Film 

    Literature 

  • In The Colour of Magic, the leader of the Assassin Guild uses a blowgun as his weapon.
  • In The Sign of the Four, Tonga uses poison blow darts.
  • In one Forgotten Realms novel, the pirate hunter Captain Deudermont is darted by a thug who wanted to claim the black-market bounty on him. Apparently, his darts are made from cat claws (don't ask how those could be used as darts) and no other ammunition is compatible with his blowgun.
  • In Midworld and its sequel, human hunters on the green world use rifle-like blow guns called "snufflers", modeled on distant memories of their colonial ancestors' firearms. They're powered by tank seeds, which contain air bladders that burst when punctured, propelling their toxic-thorn projectiles with great force.
    • On a different planet in the same setting, the natives use a weapon that looks like a blowgun but actually isn't. Because of the way their lungs work, they can't produce a powerful gust of air when they exhale, so they outfit the "blow gun" with stretchy vines that allow it to act as a blow gun-slingshot hybrid.
  • Agatha Christie's Death In The Clouds featured a blowgun on a plane as the apparent murder weapon (it turned out the poison dart was pressed into the victim by hand).
  • Ben Snow: In "The Edge of the Year 1900", a blowgun dart coated in curare is used as the murder weapon. The murderer actually pressed the dart into the victim in the dark. Using the dart was an attempt to frame the blowgun's owner.
  • Shadow Police: In Who Killed Sherlock Holmes?, the killer recreates the scene from The Sign Of Four by shooting one the victims with a poison dart from a blowgun.
  • The Hunger Games: Maysilee Donner, one of District 12's female tributes in the Fiftieth Games (which featured twice the usual number of tributes) found a blow gun and darts in her pack. Taking advantage of the fact that everything in the arena that year (with the exception of rain water and food obtained at the Cornucopia or via sponsors) was poisonous, she quickly turned the blow gun into a lethal weapon.

     Live Action TV  

  • MythBusters made these in the ninja special.
  • Parodied in a TV sketch of the comic trio Aldo, Giovanni and Giacomo, where the blowgun is used to anesthetize a patient.
  • Doctor Who: The Doctor uses one against the assassin in "The Deadly Assassin".
    • Leela, one of the Fourth Doctor's companions, is skilled with a variety of weapons, including a blow gun which she uses to fire deadly Janus Thorns.
  • A genuine Yanomami hunting blowgun was tried out by Survivorman in the Brazilian jungle.
  • Subject of a gag at the start of one episode of Hill Street Blues.
  • Jimmy Kimmel Live: In a parody of the soap TV series Scandal one of the characters has a poison dart in her neck. [1]
  • The New Avengers: Used by an assassin in "Target!". Gambit turns the tables on him by blowing down the end of the blow gun, causing him to swallow the poison dart.

     Print Media  

     Tabletop Games  

  • Warhammer Fantasy has these as a Wargear option for Skinks, and a Huge version for mounting on dinosaurs.
  • Dungeons & Dragons: The Unearthed Arcana (1985) supplement introduced the blowgun (which was 4-7 feet long) as an available weapon. The needle did only one Hit Point of damage, and was therefore only effective if poisoned.
  • A Traveller magazine article included a Tech level 0 blowgun that cost zero credits, meaning there was no reason not to give your character one. It only dealt nonlethal damage, so like the D&D example was designed for poison.

     Video Games  

  • Little Big Adventure: Twinsen, the player character, uses one in the second installment.
  • Donkey Kong 64: Lanky's Grape Blowgun
  • In the second chapter of Eternal Darkness, you receive these. It poisons enemies but does very little damage either way and has limited ammo. If you use it to Cherry Tap some zombies to death in order to save a particular NPC, however, you can get your sword (which just broke) repaired and then upgrade it to Dual Wielding with what would have otherwise been the replacement.
  • In Civilization Revolution, one of the barbarian tribes you can encounter has their spokesman threaten you with a blow gun.
  • The Apple ][ game Aztec revolved around robbing an Mayincatec tomb. In the deepest levels there were 8-bit natives armed with blow guns. The stun effect was deadly: if the native didn't get the player, the wildlife probably would.
  • Teemo from League of Legends uses this as his trademark weapon in order to pump his enemies full of poison.
  • Diablo II has pygmy enemies that uses blow darts to attack.
    • The witch-doctor in the third game uses one for their starting ability.
  • You can find blowguns in some chests near the surface of Terraria. While getting ammunition for it is a cinch (it uses seeds that you collect by cutting grass), the weapon is far outclassed by most other ranged weapons, at least one of which you should have at that point.
  • Blowguns are an option in Dungeon Crawl. They don't do much damage, but are excellent for inflicting status conditions (most commonly poison, but some other Standard Status Effects are also available) from a distance without relying on magic. Curare needles are particularly effective, as they also inflict damage through asphyxiation.

     Web Original  

    Webcomics 

  • In Strays, Feral starts putting one together, before the Tag Along Kid botches his assassination job.

     Western Animation  

  • In a Looney Tunes short, a Wacky Native tries to use a blowgun on Bugs Bunny, but Bugs blows in the other end just before the native does, so it ends up going down the native's throat. The same gag was also used against prehistoric Elmer Fudd.
  • In the Jonny Quest episode "The Deadly Doll", the villain Korbay uses a blowgun to fire darts that have a poison that causes its victims to enter a coma.
  • In a Happy Tree Friends short, Lumpy attempts to sedate a animal mauling one of the "children", but accidentally sucks the dart in when taking his breath.
  • The Kakamora in Moana use blowguns with tranquilizer darts as part of their attack. However, the tubes are very short, which might explain why they don't hit anyone. Except their own chief.


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